Aiming for a healthy lifestyle is all the rage these days especially that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very prevalent. As we try to eliminate our bad eating habits, we should also try to include a few minutes of exercise every day to boost our immune system.
And speaking of changing up our eating habits, it’s recommended that we opt for white meat instead of red meat moving forward. Fish and other types of seafood are best if you want to keep those pounds off, while getting your daily protein intake. If you’ve been eating seafood at your favorite local restaurant, and want to cook seafood at home, try these nine simple tips to master the art of cooking seafood.
Choose fresh fish
It’s always recommended to buy the freshest fish. Fresh fish is easier to cook, and it also tastes better than non-fresh ones. There are many techniques you can do to choose fresh fish. Make sure that it doesn’t smell so “fishy.” I know it’s ironic, but fresh fish should smell like the ocean. Then, check the eyes if they are clear. Next is to check the gills’ color. Make sure they’re reddish or pinkish. If all else fails, and you can’t determine with these techniques, there’s a simple trick my father taught me. Try to fold the fish’s tail, if it snaps, then it’s probably not fresh.
Store fish properly
If you’re not planning on cooking the fish immediately, then ensure that you store it properly. Transfer the fish into Ziploc bags and put it in the freezer on a bowl. This way, you don’t have to clean your freezer of any melted ice.
Don’t marinate the fish for too long
In the Philippines, there’s a dish called “Kinilaw.” This dish refers to raw fished cooking in just vinegar and some condiments in a few minutes. This means fish is easily cooked with highly acidic ingredients. That said, try not to marinate the fish for a long time to avoid it from cooking before actually cooking the fish in a pan.
Pat the fish dry
If you’re frying or pan-searing the fish, make sure that you pat it dry. This is a rule of thumb for all proteins. And because fish has extra moisture, it’s recommended that you pat it with a paper towel before putting it in the pan.
Thaw fish and seafood properly
One way that can impact your cooking is when you thaw your fish or seafood properly. To thaw frozen fish, don’t run water over “naked” fish. Run cold water over fish in a Ziploc bag to avoid it from being waterlogged.
As for shrimp, put it in the refrigerator overnight. Another option is to run cold water in a Ziploc bag with the air pressed out for about five to 10 minutes.
Clean them thoroughly
Never forget to clean your meat before cooking. Fish should be cleaned and gutted right after catching them. Or if you bought fresh fish in the market, make sure to gut and clean the fish before storing them in the fridge. Also, make sure you devein your shrimp before cooking it.
Don’t overcook seafood
One way to get the natural flavors out from your fish or other types of seafood is to prevent overcooking them. Fish or seafood that is overcooked can result in a chewy texture when you eat them. It’s important to note that fish and seafood cook faster than other types of meat such as chicken, pork, or beef.
Here’s how to tell if you overcooked the fish:
Flesh has oozing white protein
Meat is hard
Here’s how to tell if you overcooked shrimp:
Curls up into little O’s
Stick with the right temperature
As mentioned, fish and seafood cook quicker than other kinds of protein. This is due to the thinner connective tissues and shorter fiber-like protein cells that compose it. This is why it’s essential that you determine the cooking method, and stick to the right temperature to avoid overcooking fish and seafood.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
Cooking entails experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try new things and recipes when cooking fish and seafood. Trying out new ways to cook fish or seafood will give you an orgasmic palate experience. Also, cook with love and passion to ensure that the dish turns out delicious.